Sunday, August 26, 2012

Side table redo

We got this side table in the spring at the Bryn Mawr garage sales for $3. I saw past the crazy 3D animal stickers and liked the shape of it. Also since we got a new bed a few years ago, there is very little room on Steve's side so we needed something that wasn't too wide. This is perfect.  

After prying off all the stickers, destickifying (yes, I just made that up) and sanding it down, I realized it probably wasn't great candidate for staining because it had some unsightly stains on the top that would just be accentuated. So I primed and painted it with a billion coats. I wanted it to have a bit of subtle color so I used some leftover paint from the kitchen. The drawer doesn't pull out super smoothly, despite much sanding, so we got a little snail knob on sale at Anthopologie and we are done. I love it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crop Art

Every year when we go to the State Fair, we go to the crop art first. I have always loved it and take pictures of my favorite designs. For years I have said I was going to make one, but then lose track of time and then it is too late. This year I applied on virtually the last day of registration and then started my project 5 days before I was about to turn it in. No pressure or anything. It took me around 30 hours and after staying up until 1 a.m. to watch the Olympics every night for two weeks and then this... I was exhausted.

I made a color copy of this vintage flour sack from an article in the Star Tribune many years ago. I have always liked the design of it and the picture of the little girl. It seemed like the perfect design for my crop art.
I consulted with both a coworker who had done this before and some sources online. I used a canvas board from an art store and some tracing paper to get the design right on the board. To apply the seeds I used elmers glue a toothpick and painstakingly put them on one by one. After about night #2 I kind of perfected a quicker method of putting them on there, but it still was slow going.

I got all my seeds from the co-op. They all have to be crops grown in Minnesota and there can't be any weed seeds. I used quinoa (regular and red), lentils, wild rice, amaranth (which may or may not be a weed seed) and millet.

Finished! I used a standard sized canvas board so I could just buy a standard frame. This is 8" x 10" and I got it at the thrift store. I decided to cut out some of the lettering from the original sign because it was so tedious and time consuming and I was so short on time, but now kind of wish I had put in "vitamin and mineral". Oh well.

I dropped it off at the fair the Monday before opening day. I entered in the wrong category, but they allowed me to switch to the novice group so I would be just competing against first timers. Above was my competition (minus the one on the far right bottom). I felt pretty confident when I dropped if off that I would get SOME kind of ribbon given that they dole out 1st-4th and then 5 merits. Pretty good odds. You are judged on artistic merit, craftmanship and compliance of the rules.

Well friends, as you can see, I was the only one in my group that didn't get a ribbon. Not joking. I almost think they didn't give out all the merit ribbons either. Well, you can't always be a winner. I guess I will never know why they didn't like mine since apparently when you go pick them up on labor day you don't get any feedback. I had kind of assumed you get to see your scorecard.

A little flavor or the wall of entries. Some were very impressive! All and all I thought it was a really fun experience and was happy I finally did it. Check that off my bucket list. Not sure if I will ever enter again (and felt that way before not winning) because there are plenty of other things to tackle that I haven't done yet. Definitely won't be my last time entering something into the fair.  

update: I got some feedback, they said the competition was tough this year (perhaps just saying that to let me down easy ;). Also I should have lined up all the seeds in a grid.  Pretty sure that would have taken an eternity!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Documenting some street art in our 'hood.

You never how long it will be around... some of these are old, some newly painted. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Annual tree picture

This year we won't be getting any apples from the tree. Not sure if it is because of the early frost or because apple trees bear fruit every other year. I suppose I could do some research, but hoping one of my master gardener friends will chime in to save me the time.

To see previous tree pics click on the label below. Once again the lighting is afternoon sun and you can't really see the growth of the tree against the pine behind it. Perhaps next year we will switch it up.

Here's to another great year in our lives!

Friday, August 17, 2012

North Shore weekend

Last weekend we went up to Ginny's parent's time share between Duluth and Two Harbors. We had a relaxing weekend of exploring, Olympics watching, knitting, reading and meteor shower gazing. 

'Hiking' around Gooseberry Falls State Park. We didn't get super far, but still enjoyable.

Perhaps you remember this guy from another post. Technically Harriet's second time here. They have moved him since last time and gave him a voice, a paddle and a canoe.

We went into Two Harbors on Sunday morning for something to do. I would imagine this town looks similar to Flint, MI or something. Rather depressing. They did have these trains though and we walked out to this light house.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Indigo Dyeing  

A couple weeks ago I joined a few neighbors and had a lot of fun learning how to dye with indigo. We were all kind of learning together although a couple people had done a test run a week prior.  It is a bit different than just tie dyeing or used a boxed dye, the indigo had to be cultivated for a few days  and kept over 100 degrees. Also as we did more dyeing and the indigo became more oxidized and thus became unusable. More on indigo dyeing here. I had mixed success with my pieces, but had I had more time (we did it for 3 hours) I could have redipped a few of my pieces more. Oh well, a fun time was had by all.
One of two vats of dye. I am dipping the short sleeve onesie here.

One technique to make designs – this one made the cloth on the right below.  I used little rubber bands and tiny glass balls/marbles. You can only use natural fibers for this so everything is cotton here.

 I kind of hoped to make napkins out of 4 of these. Perhaps with the use of a serger my neigbor has I could whip these right out. The middle one above is probably the ugliest, but oh well, trial and error.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sleeping one night in Seattle

We decided to leave Vancouver so we could hang out with our first daughter, Molly. Molly really showed us the town and brought us to a bunch of picturesque spots and some funky neighborhoods. It was wonderful to catch up with her and to have a tour guide. I have been to Seattle a bunch of times and hadn't seen a lot of these spots, it was Steve's first time here so it was fun to see it together. I love all the public art in this city!

Salmon ladder or salmon climbing the stairs. You decide.

A lot of public art in Seattle. These blue trees were dyed temporarily to bring awareness to deforestation.
Gum wall. Kind of gross, kind of cool. Molly said that the city cleans the wall once every year. It's right around the corner from Pike's place market.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Link of the Month
The website This is Colossal (or Colossal for short) is a collection of mostly photos of art. But not just artwork, crazy artwork. The site is run by Christopher Jobson, a Wired Magazine contributer I have always liked.